About Water Service Changes -Town of Reading
March 1, 2006
Dear Reading Water Consumer:
Beginning in May 2006, the Town of Reading will begin to purchase drinking water from the MWRA. This will occur annually from May through October. The supplemental use of MWRA water is solely to help reduce the stress on the Ipswich River. Drinking water will also continue to be produced from the Reading Louanis Water Treatment Plant.
The chronology of events leading to the supplemental use of MWRA water
began as a recommendation of the 1999 Ad Hoc Water Supply Committee and approval by Town Meeting in November of 2003. Filings and approvals were received from the Department of Environmental Protection, Water Resources Commission, Legislature, Governor, and final approval by the MWRA Board of Directors on November 16, 2005.
During the transitional period there will be changes in the flow patterns in the distribution system that may cause temporary discoloration of the water due to the disturbance of sediment in the pipes. Please be assured the water is safe to drink, even if there is some discoloration. Should this occur we recommend that users do not wash clothes until the water has cleared up. The Water Department has implemented steps to reduce the potential for discoloration.
There could be a noticeable difference in the water for residents who will be receiving MWRA water as compared to water produced at the Reading Louanis Water Treatment Plant. Some homes will also receive a blend of the two waters, and it is not possible to identify how much is being supplied from each source.
An informational public meeting will be held on Monday, March 20, 2006 at 7:00 PM at the Senior Center, 67 Pleasant Street, Reading Massachusetts.
We appreciate your cooperation as we work toward reducing the stress on the Ipswich River.
Peter Tassi, Supervisor
Why is the Town using MWRA water?
The supplemental use of MWRA water is solely to help reduce the stress on the Ipswich River. The supplemental use of MWRA water began as a recommendation of the 1999 Ad Hoc Water Supply Committee and was approved by Town Meeting in November of 2003.
How can I tell which water I’m drinking?
The Town’s water originates at the Louanis Water Treatment Plant on Strout Avenue in the northwest corner of the town. The MWRA water will enter Reading from a connection located on West Street at the Reading/Woburn town line. Homes closest to these locations will receive most, if not all of their water from the nearest source. However, as the water travels through the system some homes will also receive a blend of the two waters, and it is not possible to identify how much is being supplied from each source.
What are the differences in the water? Will they look and taste the same?
The MWRA water and the Town’s water supply are required to meet state and federal standards for quality. However, there are some differences in the supplies because the MWRA supply originates from a surface water reservoir and the Town’s water comes from groundwater wells. The most notable difference will be the hardness of the water. The Town’s water has more natural minerals. The MWRA water is “softer” than the Town’s water and you may notice that the MWRA water forms more soap suds and lather.
I like Town water because it’s cold in the summer. Won’t the MWRA surface water be warm and taste different?
The MWRA water may be slightly warmer than the Town’s well water in the summer because it originates from a surface water supply, the Wachusett Reservoir. The reservoir is very large and deep so the water is still cold, even in summer. If you prefer colder water, we recommend refrigerating your tap water.
If my water is discolored, what should I do? Is it safe to use?
Discoloration may result when the direction of the flow in the distribution system changes as the MWRA water is introduced into the system in the spring and again in the fall when we return to all Reading water. This will likely be caused by sediments in the pipes that may be disturbed. Please be assured the water is safe to drink and for bathing, however, we recommend that you do not use it for washing your laundry until it clears up. It should clear up within 48 hours or sooner. Running your COLD water for several minutes may also help to clear up the discoloration. If it does not clear up within 48 hours, please notify us at 781-942-9077.
I’ve lived in Town for a long time and remember the last time in 1992 when MWRA water was used. It had a “pondy” or fishy and musty smell in the summer. Will that happen again?
Prior to 1995, any water supplied to communities near Reading came from MWRA’s Spot Pond Reservoir. Spot Pond occasionally had algae blooms during summer months which resulted in taste and odor issues. In 1997, MWRA discontinued the use of Spot Pond. In July 2005, the MWRA began using a new treatment process at its state-of-the-art John J. Carroll Treatment Plant in Marlborough. The plant uses ozone as a primary disinfectant and chloramines for residual disinfection, allowing MWRA to meet current and tougher future state and federal water quality standards. Ozone provides better disinfection than chlorine alone and is used worldwide to improve the clarity and taste of water. MWRA customers have noticed an improvement in the taste of the water since the new treatment has been used. If you have any questions about the taste of your water, please contact us at 781-942-9077.
Does the MWRA test the water as often as the Town does?
Both the MWRA and Town of Reading are required to meet state and federal drinking water standards and test the water in accordance with those standards. Visit the Town of Reading website at www.ci.reading.ma.us or the MWRA web site <www.mwra.com> for the annual water quality reports.
My drinking water is reddish or brown. What causes this, and what can I do about it?
This is likely caused by sediments in the pipes that may be disturbed when the direction of the flow in the distribution system changes as the MWRA water is introduced into the Town. The water is safe for drinking and bathing, but we recommend that you avoid doing laundry until it clears up. It should clear up within 48 hours or sooner. You can also try running your COLD water for several minutes to see if this helps. If it does not clear up within 48 hours, please notify us at 781-942-9077.
How will I know for sure when the MWRA connection is activated?
The target date for turning on the MWRA connection is Monday, May 1, 2006. Please continue to check back at the Town’s web site at www.ci.reading.ma.us, the Daily Times Chronicle, the Reading Advocate and RCTV 22 for updated information.
Updated March 2, 2006